The breeze was soothing. In the park, Avni walked slowly, talking with her brother over phone.
“Come and meet father, you know he has started forgetting everything, Alzheimers is taking a toll on him, doctors told that now he is going towards advanced stage of his ailment. Meet him before he forgets you”, her brother was saying.
“Can he recognise you?” Avni asked.
He said,” Yes he can, upto some extent, we are with him, he is seeing us regularly, so it is possible. But you are out of sight, so out of mind. Come, come and meet him.”
“Okay let me check the tickets, I will reach there within few days,” said Avni.
Avni sat at the airport, bit frustrated by the announcements that the flight is delayed by 25 minutes. She started recalling all the beautiful moments spend with her family, her childhood days. The memories were so pleasant that 25 minutes simply vanished.
As she landed in Delhi Airport, she could see her brother waiting for her.
While driving home, her brother gave her all the medical details of father and also some facts. He told her that mother is the real passive sufferer, because she is witnessing every moment of his pain and deterioration. Father responds to and loves brother’s son the most, if he cries, father can’t bear it.
They reached home.
Avni ran to her parent’s room. Her father was looking very pale and thin. Rice pipe was in nose, as he was unable to eat properly.
He gave a big smile as Avni asked,” Can you recognise me? Tell, tell who am I?”
Mother immediately said,” She is Avni.”
Avni could understand that she didn’t want Avni to undergo the pain, thinking that he has forgotten her.
” Yes, yes Avni, I remember,” Father said, and added, ” How are you?”
” I am fine, but why are you on bed, get up and walk, you can’t effort to be sick”, Avni tried to smile.
” I am not sick, they say sleep, sleep, so I am sleeping,” father replied.
Avni started chatting, “You remember father, when we use to go to Gulbarga from Wadi, you use to buy the best dress the mannequin use to wear, and matching shoes and hair band.”
Father replied,” Yes, the best dress for you.”
“And do you remember, when I use to get sick, you use to sit with me the whole night, you use to tell all good stories.”
Father replied, “Yes, all good stories for you.”
Avni went on talking and her father tried his best to reply and satisfy her. But as he had gone very weak, he started panting soon.
Avni said, “See brother, he remembers me too, not only that, he had not forgotten anything. How can he forget his dear daughter?”
Avni thought, she should inform her husband about father’s health.
Avni said,” Father you take rest, I will just come after making a call.”
As she slowly closed the door, gesturing her mother that she is going out to make a call, she heard her father asking her mother, ” Who was that lady?”
Avni was stunned, speechless, sat on the dining chair holding her head.
“Oh, he was just pretending to recall, he doesn’t remember me at all. He has really forgotten me. Oh, he has really forgotten me.” Avni found herself choking with anguish, pain, self pity and God knows what all emotions.
Her brother came and sat there silently. Both were speechless, both were trying to swallow their tears, both were feeling helpless, both were lost in their pain.
Slowly her brother said,” Father forgot you, he will forget us all soon. He is suffering, sometimes he is sad, sometimes he is scared, sometimes he laughs, sometimes he screams, he has got problem while eating, while swallowing, but we can’t run away from the facts.”
He paused and said,” You can’t pretend it’s not there. He gave his best to us always, now it is our turn, we know he is our father, we love him, and that’s enough. We can’t change our fate, let us change our attitude.
Let us love him unconditionally.
Avni nodded, ” Yes brother, let us love him unconditionally”.
Avni entered her parents room and smiled at her father and asked him,” Can you recognise me, I am Asha.”
Father promptly replied with a big smile, ” Yes, yes Asha, how are you ?”
Avni and her mother smiled sadly. Truth is bitter, always.